Total Training: 308.8k Week 7: 18.1k Week 8: 36.1k
Well, if you read my previous post. Week 7 is easy to summarise. On Monday I went for a long run. Unfortunately my foot went down a hole about 2 miles from home. I thought it might have broken my ankle but fortunately it turned out to be a sprain. Here’s the run.
My ankle swelled up overnight but I could walk on it pain free (aside from putting shoes on). I left it a week so that was my training for week 7. Fortunately I got 15k in before I went down! I jogged home to avoid freezing so that definitely counts too!
I got back into it last week. The sprain was only effecting me if I needed to balance my foot. Like when running on uneven ground. So I tried to keep mostly to pavements, but also just to stay more alert to my footing.
As you can see I am pretty much back to normal. It is less mileage than I hoped but I couldn’t run on Sunday as I helped a friend move house. I have done a half marathon this Monday which is technically week 9. So week 9 may end up seeming to be too much mileage, but its nothing to worry about. I hope to push beyond the half marathon distance (21k) on Sunday (or Monday)
The 12k run on Wednesday was with a friend, where I literally stole chocolate from a child. I will definitely have to make up for that, sorry Jose and Oscar 😉 . I had planned to run with Jose but went for a run the day before. After a couple of k with Jose I could feel like I was running on empty and got a massive craving for a mars bar. I had planned to run home also but ended up getting a tram. People were looking at me oddly as I was wearing a headtorch after running out of the woods/river.
Sorry again about the late update. Things have not been going well, its a good job I have running to fall back on. And raising money for a great cause. Thank you again to everyone who has donated.
I want to tell the story of my C25K experience, including how much I weighed the routes I used and how I felt during and after. Fortunately I recorded most of this using GPS and forum posts so I can look back and see what was going on at the time.
To start with, I am 5’11” and weighed well over 105 kg when I started C25K, I was incredibly unfit. I point this out because so many people see me and say I must have always been a runner or fit. That’s a compliment and fine but I feel like a lot of people try to rule themselves out of running by mentally editing my history. And I feel like I worked hard back then so I’m not going to let people forget. Even my family who knew me as unhealthy most of my life say I have always been fit, well this is a photo of me in 2016.
I was working at the Manchester Royal infirmary at the time, I had the best job in the world, which is one that you want to do. I was a research assistant on a project hacking the Kinect, a gaming device, to make it track breathing rates of patients in the hospital. A proof of concept type of study and as a physicist into medicine I loved it. It was strange then that I was suffering from depression, and it was getting worse.
I used to walk the 4 kilometers into work everyday, and enjoyed it whilst listening to a podcast or audiobook. But the depression made this difficult, I would rather stay in bed for 20 more minutes and get a bus. This was one change that seemed to happen without me noticing, and when I did it forced me to think about things. Another was finding it harder to put my shoes on because my belly was just in the way making it hard to breathe. Walking up stairs to my flat left me breathless and sweaty. I kept having to buy larger clothes to stay comfortable. I remember deciding to walk home one day and finding it had become much more difficult, to the extent that I was shaking. Looking in the mirror I would see someone else looking back, this wasn’t me, it wasn’t fair.
I remember sometimes coming home and seeing females running past and becoming sad and depressed. “I will never be like that” I thought and I meant it in two ways. I meant it in the way that I will never be a runner again. I also meant it in the way that I wish I was born female. At the time I focussed on the running aspect, I honestly believed all men wished they were born female, it never crossed my mind that I could be transgender because all I knew about that was that you are born in the wrong body. Well, I was in for a surprise on that front and so was everyone who knew me, but that was for later. I had become resigned to being unfit and unhappy, I had tasted the world and didn’t want anymore of it, I wanted things to be simple, I wanted to be drunk. I was the loneliest person on the planet.
This carried on until the end of March 2016, I found myself in a mental health ward. It was an observation ward, with 4 of us to a room. I think I had gone to A&E because I was feeling suicidal, I had started to self harm again, cutting my arms but after 2 days they let me go, it was on April fools day, haha.. I had to make the decision between ending everything, or trying to get better mentally. With the stakes so high, I thought I have to at least try something, I might aswell right? The main thing I wanted to do at this time was to stop drinking, It had become a crutch to cope with life but I knew if I could ditch that I could make other changes too, drastic changes, but ditching alcohol would also mean facing my thoughts.
Stopping drinking was very hard, I had no brakes because I was suicidal. When you are only thinking a day, week or maybe month ahead you don’t really care about alcoholism. Contrary, actually I just wanted something to come along and kill me. I would drink most nights, I didn’t get drunk on nights before work and could do drink free days but it was getting harder. I had also began self harming again by cutting my arms. If you wanted to find me those days, my hobby was getting blackout drunk in the pub, reading comics. Somehow just by being surrounded by people in the pub I felt less lonely, even if I never talked to anyone.
I could see many benefits of not drinking, I was spending a fortune on alcohol for one thing. It would mean saving a lot of money, I was spending £50 some nights on alcohol. Dieting and losing weight, I was consuming 1,000s of calories through alcohol alone, and even more via obligatory kebabs. Along with this, I could be more active instead of drinking, I could go out for a walk instead of being hungover, burning calories, instead of consuming them.
Once I was free again I looked on-line for a way to start running, there I found the Couch to 5k programme and a lovely community of people who had completed it or were on their own journey through it. And so, about a week before my 28th birthday in April 2016, I ditched the drink and started Couch to 5k. This isn’t a complete success story, I did finish and I did lose a lot of weight, but the alcohol came back. The transformation that happened during these few weeks were incredible however, and it gave me the base fitness to start running again when I once again found myself deeper into a mental hospital almost 8 months later.
This is a brief section of my life, it wasn’t the first time I had tried to get into running, but It was a big lesson for me, and at that time the longest time I managed to stay off alcohol since I was 18.
In future posts I will tell you the details I put on the C25K forum and some of the notes I took on how my dieting was going along with how I remember it. As you can see below, eventually through running I found myself, I am still finding pieces here and there.
I am doing this in the hopes that it encourages others to try C25K as you can tell I really enjoyed doing it, and even though I fell off the wagon, it really helped me start running with just the knowledge that I could still do it. As a very large person, it gave me a lot of self confidence, along with being an overweight runner I also had plenty of scars along my arms that I was extremely self conscious about.
I have seen people in their 60 and 70’s starting and loving C25K, falling in love with running in the process, ant they all believed they were never able to run. If you are thinking of starting it, then why not join in?
Things were looking good this week in terms of the injury. Leg was a little tender on Monday and Tuesday but after then it seems fine. I have also been quite lazy. Only going to the gym once! So this week I intend to finally get an official training plan.
Mentally things have been bad. I had to get some help so went to the GP and he prescribed me Mirtazapine. I needed help with my thoughts and to get to sleep. The pills did work and provided some much needed relief but are a little too powerful and had some bad side effects. I will show you what happened and the effects they seem to have had on parkrun and my resting heart rate. They tend to leave me feeling quite dizzy and clumsy for 24 hours.
This is all a little complicated by the fact I am doing my own HRT, I have no help coming from the NHS nor will my GP check my bloods.
Currently as I write this I’m having the withdrawal effects from the Mirtazapine, something I am unfortunately familiar with, but surprising after just 2 pills with a day off in between. I figure they feel more powerful since I have been off alcohol so long, and the only time I was on them was when I was drinking. The withdrawal effects are hard to explain, currently it is like my skull is groaning like a ships hull as it is crushed in ice. Whenever my heart beats I can hear and feel it in my ear a bit like my ear is letting out gas (it isn’t, don’t worry) but if I am concentrating on something else it isn’t as noticeable which is nice. That is probably why I am up at 1:15 AM writing this. So…………
Monday, I went again with Didsbury Runners, I decided to go on the shorter route this time at 8 minute miles. As I run there 2.5k and back I didnt want to do too much with my leg still a little dodgy. It was nice to meet everyone though and got in 10.2k overall. Apparently it was the largest turnout of Didsbury Runners, which is impressive in the cold.
Tuesday I went to the gym, I think I did an hour on the crosstrainer and came back home.
Wednesday is the day I went to the GP, I didn’t accomplish anything else and took the 1st mirtazapine that night. It got me to sleep so well that I slept for 14 hours, only waking up once for the toilet and getting back to sleep quickly. Usually the past few weeks that has kept me up for another 2 hours at least. Sleep is very important for recovery so this was good for running too.
Thursday, I went to a running injury prevention (unfortunate acronym) event at a private hospital nearby. It was free and one of the Didsbury runners had linked to it on Facebook. There was free food and the even was interesting. First 2 lectures on running injury prevention, which had a lot of new information and I will be looking in more detail. Especially surprised to hear that the current consensus is that stretching and sports massages have no effect on reducing injury risk. Conflicts what I have been practising and preaching here so look forwards to reading into that. Instead they said current advice is to do dynamic stretching and warmup. It does seem like the Spire hospital has a crack team of running specialists. They also showed evidence that running actually reduces the risk of getting bad joints as you age.
Afterwards there were practical exercise session where we did a bit of physio led pilates, which was new to me and some other workouts to help stay injury free. A lot of this I have seen variations of, including buildin up core and activating glutes aswell as improving balance or proprioceprtion, to keep the knees and joints steady as you run so as to avoid injury. All good stuff. Aparently I am good at single leg squats 🙂
I decided to run to this even on thursday and afterwards went for a longish run. I found after a few k I couldnt quite keep up with my old power, something I am blaming entirely on the Mirtazapine. I also had a stomach problem on the run, which I dont usually get fortunately, blame that on the meds too eh?
Thats when I looked at my resting heart rate. It has risen quite high due to all the transphobia related stress from media and online. Usually I expect it to be in the low 40’s when I am training but the day after mirtazapine it spiked low. What us computer chess nerds call a moob.
Also I should point out that 47 and above is high for me, this is what I would expect if I was overtraining and what I was seeing late into training for the Manchester marathon last year. Usually my Resting HR is below 45 during training, when I have stopped training due to injury or before a race it goes to below 40 once I got down to 32 for 1 day.
So I believe my resting heart rate is high due to the anxiety I am having, which I can believe, I can feel it pounding most of the day and it is racing at night as my mind goes over things. So its not surprising the drugs reduced it, because after taking them I felt dulled. I didn’t feel good, I just didn’t really feel, and it was a big relief. I do think there was a further reduction due to the drug itself though. Mainly because that is what I want to blame my poor runs on, the one on thursday and also parkrun.
Saturday, I went to parkrun. After taking the mirtazapine I fell asleep at about 9, unheard of for me. I woke up on time but felt very unsteady due to the drugs. They make me feel a bit like being drunk I suppose but not fun, for example when trying to type I often miss the key I am aiming for, I cant focus my eyes quite so well, etc, this lasts for about 24 hours after taking them. I decided to go anyway, If people were volunteering I had better go! I ran hard and tried to get a PB but it just wasn’t in me, and I am definitely blaming the mirtazapine so there! I still did it in around 21:45 and thanks to Kim for adding me to the results after my barcode seemed to have failed.
So I have been calming myself without drugs and doing some writing, it has been partially successful!
Running video coming soon, and more on my own C25k journey.
Hope everyone is doing well, it has been lovely hearing from people who have started C25K because of my blog, let me know how you are getting on and lots of love to everyone!!!!!!
This one is a bit late, this week was extremely difficult regarding my transition. After a 17 month wait I had my first appointment at the Leeds Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) on Tuesday, which ended up being a triage so I can see a Dr and get help. Now I’m in another waiting list to see the Dr… which will take “12 months maybe more”. My GP wont give me a bridging prescription for HRT and I felt very close to cracking. Will write more about this and what I plan to do separately.
My running has reduced this week. I can feel shin splints beginning in my left leg so taking it easy. Because of this I also went to the Withington Physio to get a sports massage on Friday. They are so nice there and despite not seeing me for months they remembered me and correctly gendered me which was awesome. Recommended to any other LGBT people in Didsbury/Withington area
One of my problems is that my flat is cold most of the time so once I get back from a run I find it very hard to do my usual foam rolling and stretching. This has meant that knots are building up and my muscles are getting stiffer. A sports massage is a good way to help with that, loosening up the muscles and getting the blood flow back to help them recover properly.
Week 3 has therefore been mostly cross training at the gym. I went 5 times and run there and back which adds 1k of running every time. Wednesday I did an hour on the treadmill at the gym with an uphill bit at the end.
I was feeling so lousy and had so little sleep that I missed parkrun on Saturday, which made me feel worse as my running club was doing a parkrun in blue event to raise money for Mind. (Blue Monday)
Sunday I went for a 9k run to celebrate a huge show of solidarity for trans people that spontaneously happened online. After transphobic tweeter Graham Linehan who once wrote Father Ted, petitioned the national lottery to revoke funding for transgender childrens charity Mermaids. A youtuber hbomberguy started a charity stream playing Donkey Kong 64 to completion. He expected to raise around $5,000 however the outpouring of support surprised everyone. In the end raising over $345,000 for Mermaids. The CEO of mermaids joined in at times and talked of how she kept suicide watch over her daughter and why it inspired her to make sure no other parents or children had to suffer in the same way. Later in the stream famous people were coming on to support trans rights including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who won the biggest upset victory in the US 2018 midterm-election. Despite this Graham continues to lie, telling his followers that Mermaids gives untested drugs to children. Mermaids provides support groups, I honestly feel he would prefer trans children to commit suicide rather than get support from Mermaids.
During the stream #ThankyouGraham and #Mermaids trended globally on twitter for unwittingly raising awareness of transphobia and mermaids. This has been the biggest outpour of pro trans sentiment I have ever seen, it was so promising and I was so close to breaking point from transphobia and lack of anything from NHS.
It also got me to go on a run to celebrate feeling OK for the first time in about 3 weeks. Up until this weekend I haven’t been able to go for 10 minutes without all the horrible transphobia going through my mine, like having an imaginary conversation with a TERF, then catching myself doing it. I wake up at night for a wee and then it happens again, my heart races and I can’t get back to sleep. It has truly been horrible.
So that covers week 3, disappointing from the running standpoint but I will get through. Fitness wise I feel good, the break from running over Christmas has improved me somehow, Its just a shame I seem to be getting injured again. More cross-trainer this week. I also want to make another running video!
Here is the link to my fundraising page please help if you can donate.
It was extremely nice to be back with the Didsbury Runners on Monday. It has been 9 weeks since I last made it, due to my injury and being in Skipton/running the Bolton Abbey half. No wonder I missed it so much. I was unsure what group to join but went back into the fast long run group and was glad I did as it felt very manageable. Running there and back as well totalled 15.5k, so a nice long run.
On Tuesday I met a friend in town and say my fist tattoo being done. I also picked up some calligraphy stuff and have been trying that out.
On Wednesday I went on another longish run of 13.2k. This was up-river on a route I used to do a lot. I feel like it has been a long time since I did that route too so it was nice to see all those familiar sights. Speed wise I went a little too fast, but I felt great. I need to slow down a little this week on these long runs as I am feeling it in my legs. At this stage coming back from an injury, slow and steady is the way to go. I have a lot of easy gains as my fitness comes back while pushing too hard only increases my risk of injury.
On Thursday and Friday I ran to the gym and did 1 hour on the cross trainer. I am glad I have that resource to be able to do cardio whilst not pounding my legs. I really want to try and get into cycling for this reason.
On Saturday I was feeling super low, there had been another attack on transgender people by the press. I managed to get out of bed and go to Fletcher Moss parkrun though. This time I wasn’t late. I jogged 2.5k there as a warmup and then went for it. It has been a while since I went for a PB at parkrun but this was one of those times. My watch was just over 21minutes but the official time was 20:59. I am very happy with that as it is a slower course with a hill that you do twice. I was speaking to someone after who said it was about 50 seconds slower for him than South Manchester parkrun so I am nearly on PB shape to get a sub 20 minute 5k. Really feels like the rest and x-mas eating has done me good.
I spoke to people after and then just cried on the way home. When transphobic things like that happen in the press I feel like someone has poured boiling water over me in the city centre, and nobody thinks there is anything wrong with it. It is a traumatic event. It then brings up all the previous times it has happened and just plays around in my mind. I need to start doing mindfulness exercises again as I have lapsed on that front.
I managed to get to Trans Mcr at the LGBT Foundation after parkrun which was helpful and emotional. If transphobic people were witness to the struggles that people go through then they would quickly change their minds. Of course the true phsychopaths would still want to enjoy themselves on twitter or line their pockets by creating a controversy, and as they are cowards there is nothing like punching down. My human rights are not controversial. I did not choose to be trans.
If you don’t know by now, I am raising money for the wonderful LGBT Foundation by running the London Marathon, the training of which I am banging on about here. (See I can be just like Shakespeare) Check out my donation page:
Thank you to everyone who has donated I love you!!!!
Yesterday (Sunday) I could feel some pain in my left leg. It isn’t an injury but I need to back down a bit. So I ran to the gym again (0.5k each way) and did an hour on the crosstrainer. The pain is probably because I haven’t been stretching and foam rolling enough. Primarily because my flat is so cold so the first thing I want to do is shower and wrap up. So I will probably skip Didsbury runners today and go to the gym. I then want to get a sports massage this week, just being proactive. You do learn a lot about listening to your body when you start running for me by going through the full process of getting and injury. This time I can tell that shin splints are likely if I don’t loosen my muscles.
So almost 40k in week 2, I will try to hold at 40k for week 3 slowing down a tad on the easy runs. Still no official plan, sorry, but don’t panic. I need to figure out my limits in this human host body (sarcasm). I am not really from out of space you know….
I have my first appointment at the GIC tomorrow so wish me luck, it has been a long wait. I have been coming across doubt’s analyzing them and overcoming them, which has been nice. The hardest parts are really society and my depression.
An update on my training during week 1. Had an amazing meeting last week with Virgin Money Lounge and the LGBT foundation and hopefully will have some good news for you. Running has been going well too, nice to be back running the routes in Manchester this weekend, and doing park-runs. Wow this one turned out long!
I am now in training for the London Marathon, to raise money for the LGBT foundation. It has been a tough few weeks before the new year as I had a foot injury which stopped me from running. I am glad to say this seems to have improved a lot now. I did parkrun yesterday and haven’t had any aches where the injury was, so things are looking good for training to begin in earnest. In the meantime last year I joined the gym and did a lot of crosstrainer exercise, spending an hour at a time and using that instead of running. This seems to have paid off, I don’t think I have lost a lot speed wise despite putting over 2kg on over christmas 🙂
So I have to admit, I don’t yet have a training plan…. Mainly because of the injury it is hard to tell how long I had until that was sorted out. So next week I hope to let you all know what the plan is! For my first marathon I chose a plan that did 2 quality long runs per week, this time I am going to tone that down a little and only have one quality long run per week. I was really pushing myself on the last plan and the most important thing this time is to get across the finish line in one piece. If I don’t get an injury and only work up distance I am guaranteed to beat my last time (4:11:11) depending on my transition. Leading me on to…
I have my first appointment with the Gender Identity Clinic coming up in the next few weeks, this is very exciting. I am unsure what will happen as everyone seems to have different experiences. Depending the hormones I go on, it could effect my running speed quite quickly but I think there’s not much point worrying now exactly what will happen at the GIC. I will just go and see. I think it’s insane that it takes almost 2 years before you even get to talk to a professional about this. The support from the LGBT foundation during this time has been invaluable. If you haven’t checked out my donation page yet please consider it and thank you very much to everyone who has donated 🙂
Also I now have my passport back and am officially Sofie Enyo Lewis, I also have an F as my gender which is good too and on top of that, I can travel abroad I guess. Although in a few countries I might be illegal, I will have to check that one out but that just makes me somewhat of a badass.
This week I also had my beard lasered again! I am paying to have my hair follicles burned out so I want it to be painful in a way and the pain is easier to handle. Saying all that, its really not so painfull. If you are looking I really suggest looking on groupon, you pay a fraction of the full price.
Weight after Christmas Update
I was at 70.2kg on Friday 04/01, that is about 3-4 kg more than I was last year, I didn’t put all of that on over Christmas though. But I will be losing weight over the next few months, changing my eating habits to something more healthy and getting a calorie deficit going. Nothing as crazy as 2 years ago. But I will keep you updated. I have already lost 1kg of that down to 69.3 on the 06/01, this was probably because I had a salty meal (eating out) and the salt leaves your body over the next 2 days along with a lot of water, I typically experience a 1-2kg up down shift due to this so don’t worry if you notice that yourself.
This week I managed to do 3 parkruns, 2 of which were quite hilly on new years day Tuesday when I did the unthinkable, getting out of bed early and getting the train from Skipton to Bingley to do Myrtle parkrun at 9:00 and then from Bingley to Keighley to do Cliffe Castle at 10:30. It was my first time at either and they are quite new parkruns, last year I would’ve had to travel a lot further from Skipton to do a new years double.
From Bingley train station it isn’t far at all to Myrtle park so of course I almost got lost. Seeing someone in running gear and following them worked like a charm. Waited till close to the start and took my coat off and went. Myrtle park was nice, everyone was lovely. I think it is the shortest route I have done as it was a 4 lapper, I did say thanks to all the marshals every time! There was a policeman there with the marshals which was good to see. Even though it was a four lapper the undulations broke it up well. Afterwords I grabbed my coat and headed for the train station.
I got to Cliffe Castle with about 40 minutes to spare. The last time I ran in this place I was in secondary school someone was throwing rocks at me, one of the few times I ran in my early life. I have to say the park is very nice now I wondered around and looked at the birds and animals, they all looked at me and that carried on for a while… They did all appear to be very well looked after. Everything was well manicured in the park and there was a huge fountain that I don’t recall from before. A lot of the marshals were wearing fancy dress and when they asked if this was anyone’s second parkrun that day a lot of hands went up.
Cliffe Castle parkrun is a 2 and a bit lapper, with the steepest hill I have done in a parkrun. I am ashamed to say I was too tired to say thank you to all the marshals on this one. Finishing Myrtle in 22:12 and Cliffe Castle in 22:22 I was happy.
I also managed Lancaster Parkrun on 29/12/18 but it was a bit of a disaster. This was a also a very hilly one, along with getting there late and starting 600m into the run (which I tried to make up for at the end), I forgot my barcode so didn’t even get it as an official run 😦 Still counts to my training however 🙂 I will have to try it again sometime, I think it is a great course, similar amount of climb to Cliffe Castle but spread of more smaller hills.
That turned out longer than expected, I doubt anyone will make it this far but thankyou for reading and hope you have a lovely week 2! Or happy new year or something! :p Lots of love to you all!!!!!